The Linux mascot, Tux, is about to introduce himself to the masses—by driving really, really fast., a Linux marketing site, is working to raise $350,000 to take primary sponsorship of Stephan Gregoire's car in the Indianapolis 500 race on May 27. So far, only about $6000 has been raised, solely through donations from users in the Linux community.

Though the $350,000 mark may be difficult to attain, Tux has already made it into the Indy500. The ceremonial first decal was applied today outside of Columbus, Ohio. For now, only Tux will appear on the nose of his car, but as donations continue to come in, he and other Linux promotions will make their way onto other parts of the car.

This campaign is perfect for maintaining the spirit of open-source. While Linux does receive contributions (both in funding and in code) from corporations, a large portion of Linux comes from individuals not paid by any corporation. By soliciting money straight from users, instead of major Linux-related corporations like Red Hat and Canonical, Tux500 is demonstrating to the masses that there exist people willing to commit time and money to ensuring Linux's survival. Since Linux, unlike OS X and Windows, has no single corporate sponsor, its reliability and usability could be (and is) called into question by those unfamiliar with it. If, however, public perception of the OS is strong enough, Linux can continue to grow and displace its competitors in the consumer market.

At the same time, though advertisement in a major sporting event is really unusual and very interesting, is it really the best way to increase public awareness of Linux? Especially if this campaign cannot raise enough money to prominently feature Linux on the sponsored car, will people watching the coverage of the race know what Tux is, or what he represents? This is actually the entire point to the campaign—to expose Tux and Linux to those outside the IT community. Those who watch sporting events such as the Indy500 are exactly those ready to learn about Linux.

The recent problems and disappointments with Vista and the discontinuation of Windows XP will create a demand for alternatives. If a customer enters a retail store and says they want a machine that does not have Vista, they won't have many options by the end of this year. If, however, these same customers know about Linux and can request a machine with Ubuntu pre-installed by name, retailers won't have any choice but to make Linux available.

Linux, at this point, is a worthwhile replacement for Windows, and the majority of computer users that would otherwise be unsure about Linux can get the same features and usability (and then some) they've come to expect. People need to be aware that it is no longer a sacrifice to use Linux instead of Windows, and that if they want to get away from Microsoft's hold on them, they have options.

Those posts don't prove anything infact the guy sounds like an over suspicious windows fanboy and most of his "evidence" is really based on nothing. for example he makes the point of who the money goes to if this is a flop yet they are buying stickers as they go so obiously the money won't be going to these guys if it flops. he also points out the large number of posts by the same people on linux sites and uses this as supposed proof that they are phishers. DUH MAN of course they are going to put up posts about it on linux forums how else would people find out about the damn thing.

I've deleted the links in that first comment as they all pointed to a single blog, which starts to make it look suspiciously like blog spam. By all means, Jack Ripoff, make your points but make them here please within this comment thread.

Great excuse for censoring me. If you doubt, check my e-mail address. You can find me on this site as well:

AFAIK, Penguin Pete doesn't speak Portuguese.

I will post the links again as it is important we stop this goddamn scam and I won't repeat everything Pete's said on his blog here:

Your libel and blather are getting tiresome and not just those involved in the project are growing weary of it. Here, Right here you will specifically name the people who are scamming the community, Here you will specifically name those scams, the exact people involved by name and list their "crimes". Please be exact in describing the "scam". I want you to be as specific as you can as to who is a thief, a liar and a fraud. List your real name and all facts you have to present to the community. If you cannot do this, then you are simply a person who disagrees with the project and are willing to commit libel to stop it.

please submit the requested information here. the community wants to know the truth.